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This appears to be Dad’s last letter to Mary before shipping out for home. I’m attaching an interesting publication called “Angels Harp” dated July 16, 1945 with news of the day and a piece called “Opened by Mistake” which details life aboard the ship!

I am taking a short break from the letters and will resume when Dad reaches American shores.

6 July 1945

Hello, Cutie, This (again) is probably the last letter from over here. We’re in Camp Lucky Strike now (staging area) and the last stop before the boat! Tonight should be our last night here, but we have no orders yet so never know. Have been here four days. Got all of our reports & everything set the first day and since then have just been lying around & playing ball. How do you like my new pen? Got two of them, in fact. Stolen Jerry pens (I imagine) bought ’em from a GI for 75 francs each (3 bucks). July 3rd I got a pretty nice thing (surprise for you all when I get home) and July 4th was just another day. I also have a homecoming present for you which I think you’ll like.

For me, just getting home will be enough. Haven’t had any mail for a long time now —but I don’t mind. Should be seeing you in a couple of WEEKS!!!
Love love love LOVE Pappy

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He’s estimating just a few more days until they go to the staging area where they will be shipped back to America. They have a pool going to see who can predict the actual date they land on US soil.

30 June 1945

Good evening, sweetie, Here are a couple of MOs that will be of interest to you (to fly the Bauers to Seattle?) and I also got off my last box of junk to you today. That makes three, the other two were from Bielefeld. Included in this one is the ten rolls of film which I bought for you in Brussels, plus a couple of more pairs of tiny souvenir wooden shoes.

We are becoming very hot. Rumor has it that we will be leaving here in a day or so, for the staging area near Le Havre, where we should not be for over three or four days before catching the ol’ boat for home ”” We have a pool (ten bucks each) guessing the time that we will tie up at a dock in the States. I picked July 18. It would not only be a good day to get in, but would also net me about two hundred bucks. Ten bucks a crack is a bit steep, but as I’m doing all right with the poker dept (witness the money orders) I figured it wouldn’t hurt much.

We have been pretty busy putting the finishing touches on our final movement procedure, but we’ve also had time to play a game of hard ball with some colored boys last night, in which we had a thousand laughs, but lost 8 to 2. Hey, bottom of the page coming up and I’ve taken no time to tell you how much I love you , and how I can hardly wait until I see you. This may very well be my last letter to you from this side. I may wire you from the port if we have the facilities, but that is not important—compared with the fact I’m really beginning to get a bit excited about going HOME”” I can’t believe it myself until we’re on the boat. But, anyway, darling, I love you more than I’ll ever be able to tell you in the next 75 years—get set, baby, here I come…Rol

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Dad’s back in Rheims in a camp much like the US where they’re in tents with no lights, no water and they could be here for up to one month. But he’s chipper because he knows he’s on his way home. Trying to make plans to visit his folks in Seattle, as his Dad isn’t well and he’s very concerned about that.

24 June 1945

Mary darling, Here we are a short distance from Rheims in a camp that is very reminiscent of camps in US. We live in tents, with dirt floor no lights (thank gosh it is light from about four AM until around 11 PM no water, and it is dusty, hot and windy as hell—but we are on our way home, so we don’t mind…Received your swell letter of June 8 yesterday…while I remember it, Mrs Larry Trombly address is 114 Brinkerhoff St., Plattsburg, NY (to send the goblets on to). Also glad to hear that you are getting Yank all right…no, I never heard in the other letters. Did I tell you that besides the ice cream in Brussels, our last morning for breakfast, we each had five (5) eggs??? We still hear all kinds of rumors here…will be here from a month to 45 days, or that we’ll be leaving in a week…we don’t know. We sleep on cots, walk about a half a mile to eat, and do very little else but play ball and poker…so far I am doing very well in the latter, and if I can get a money order I’ll be sending you some money for our Seattle trip soon. What would you think about flying out? I’d hate to spend the money, but we’d probably have to taka a compartment with Karen, anyway, wouldn’t we? Do you want to look into the deal so that we can consider it? You will please pardon the typing but I have bunged up a few of my fingers and typing with bandages is a bit complicated. In reading back over this damn thing, I see that my thoughts are really rambling, but as I’ve told you before, I’m just so fed up on writing that I have no desire to take the time to do much more than make sense. By the way, I think I’ll write my folks now that we may be coming home. Mom wrote and told me about dad. It seems that he has a leakage of the old hemorrhage, and every time he gets excited he has convulsions and doesn’t remember what is going on. I don’t like it at all, but feel better now that I know what the score is. That is why I think it will be better to break this thing to him in easy stages, so that he won’t get excited at all. Well, my darling that is about all for now. I’ll try to wire you more details of when we will due home, and in the meantime I will write you…occasionally. All of my love to you, sweetheart, and I hope that I’ll be seeing you VERY soon — Rol

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This is it folks – the moment we’ve all been waiting for! He’s coming home! In his mind to that warm fuzzy place that he’s been fantasizing about for years – he’s hopeful – joyous even though he doesn’t know what really will happen to him. I thought it would be interesting to google what was going on in Germany at this point in time – and frankly, the politics of the region are so complex – that I’ve decided to stick with the personal telling of my Dad’s story. It looks like Germany is set to be divided into two countries right about now -so keeping up with the history of Germany will have to wait till another time!

19 June 1945 V-Mail

Guess where I am, Cutie – on my way! At present in Brussels for 3 days!! Sunday we finished packing up the old Msg Center, and Monday morning took off for here for a bit of a rest prior to going to the Assembly area. Haven’t done a darn thing yet except eat a couple of steaks and french fried potatoes, and take in a vaude- show tonight. Tomorrow at ten we take a tour of the city. Oh yes — have been eating ice cream & pie ala mode like crazy! Got you five rolls of 620 film today.  If I have any money left will get you more tomorrow. Am sitting in the Red Cross Club (a fair spot) admiring the bosoms as they go past. The French gals have the legs, but, my back! the Brussels belles have the bouncers! A man, I’ll bet, could make a fortune here in the girdle and brassiere business.

As usual, I sit here staring at the paper – thinking how much easier & pleasanter it’s going to be telling you about these things. So–good night–my darling–I can hardly wait. Going to kick around some time yet before I see you–but I’m on my way– ALL my love
Pappy

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Great letter! Fraught with emotion!

14 June 1945

I’ve been waiting a long time to write this letter, sweetheart, so sit down and take it easy…Unless something goes wrong, we should be home in about a month to six weeks from now!!!!! We have finished our mission here (last Sat, in fact, when we were called together by the Col and he told us that we are CBI bound “indirect”– through the States) and are now preparing like crazy for overseas shipment. He didn’t want us to talk about it for a few days, but now it “Can be told”. Frankly, I don’t know what to think. I mean I’m all mixed up emotionally. I’m crazy happy, of course, to be coming home (we could have been shipped “Direct”, you see) but I also don’t care much for the idea of leaving again…our only consolation is that, at least, while we are home, something could happen so we would not have to leave, such as the end of the Japs, or lowering of age limit, or me having enough points (dream on Neibauer)…well, you see what I mean? I’m emotionally mixed up….but I am quite sure that we’re on our way, anyway, darling. Still in Bielefelt, but expect to be pulling out before many days for the Assembly Area, and then to the boats…I’ll try to keep you posted.

Don’t you think that we had better plan on a little time in Seattle, darling? It will cost a lot of money, but I know that my folks would be heartbroken if I came back to the States and didn’t see them before leaving again. Can we take Karen and go out for a week, anyway? We have no idea how much time furlough we’ll get (probably between 20 and 30 days) or where we will be stationed as we go into training again before we take-off on our new mission, so I can’t give you anything to plan on except we should get home around the middle of July —but DON’T count on it beyond making tentative arrangements. I’m not going to write to my folks or anyone else about this, honey, as I’d hate for them to be disappointed in case something goes wrong, but I thought that you should know what our probable plans are, anyway. Unless you hear differently from me,  you may as well stop writing to me around the first of July, because I doubt if the letters would catch up to us. I may not be too good on the corresponding from now on either (gosh darn, but I’m tired of writing letters!) but don’t fret, sweetie, you know that I’ll keep you posted on any and all new developments as they come along.

In the meantime, my very darling, get ready, because I’m supercharged with millions of volts of love for you—Pappy

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Now that the censors have gone, Dad’s letters a more substantive which is wonderful! The ever-present “what’s next” is looming in his letters as they go about their days wondering. I love in the second letter where he and his pal Spalding have been put in charge of the Rathskeller and have so much booze left that they’ve decided to make it free! The prices they were charging by today’s standards are incredulous!

9 June 1945 V-Mail
Germany

Good evening, baby, no mail for the last few days, but I guess we can’t expect it every day! (but we can hope). Got your mothers Mar 12 ltr last night, to give you an idea of how screwed up mail can be generally. I still don’t understand how we can get some letters in six days, and take a couple of months to get others. Here it is Sat night. Yippee, I just had six rousing games of horseshoes, and when I finish this I think that I will go down and have a few beers!!! Ain’t I the one, though? Fop. Fortunately, tomorrow is our day off, with NO reveille (did I tell you that we are having 6:30 reveille now?), so we probably won’t get up until we hear the breakfast bell about 5 minutes to 9 (five minutes is PLENTY of time in the army to get up, shave, bathe and be waiting a couple of minutes in the chow line). We keep getting and losing different units all of the time (I mean two or three changes each DAY!) so our work is getting quite complicated, besides we keep getting more than we keep losing, so we are now the largest ordnance group in the largest army in the world…Really, and we have a battalion that is the largest battalion, etc! I now have four men working in the office here with me, besides three telephone operators, and two messengers. About all I do now is shuffle papers around and have guys actually do the work on them. Of course, I chip in and help out on files, of registering or signing the stuff in or out whenever one of them gets too rushed. We have a damn good system worked out, if I do say so (and you KNOW I would say so) and the stuff really pours through. I’m still amazed when someone comes in and asks for something and (business of snapping the fingers) like that we get it for him!!

Enough bragging. I get pretty damn lonesome for you guys many times. This is one of them. Keep busy, Niebauer, that’s the ticket. I cer’ny do love you, sweetie. I guess that’s all for tonight. G’night my love, Rollie

11 June 1945 V-Mail
Germany

Good evening, Cutie-pants, got your 29 May and 2 June ltrs last night and very glad to hear about our fine financial situation! If I can only make a little gravy on the side now we shouldn’t do too badly, hum?

I see by Stars and Stripes tonight where Ninth Army is possibly going to the CBI. Sounds very interesting — or something…

We saw the Pathe short on the German atrocities last night. Pretty grim…reminds me of the time on Normandy when I stopped at Cemetery No. 1. I never wrote you about it because it was something I don’t care to think about too much, but sometime when I’m a little drunk, and there is no one around who has lost anyone in the war, remind me to tell you about it. Not pleasant.

I am wringing wet from playing several games of badminton. Boy but that is some game. I think that I might give Stephan a  pretty good game now. Spalding and I have been put in charge of the Rathskeller, and have been doing a very good business. We have paid off all of our debts now and from here on in all beer and drinks are free. We used to charge 1/2 mark for beer and 2 marks (5 cents and twenty cents) for cognac, but since we may not be here too much longer we figure that we had better finish off what we have (and what we have is considerable—I would guess about 20 barrels of beer and around 30 GALLONS of cognac. Strangely enough, none of us drink very much! You would think that with free liquor a lot of guys would be drunk all of the time, but it goes back to the fact that we are after all, a picked group of men, and a guy doesn’t have to get much off of the ball until he finds himself in another outfit. I worked yesterday (Sunday) so took the day off today, and spend a small part of it in arranging my various boxes of junk and disposing of a lot of excess stuff that won’t do me any good anymore. Am getting ready to travel light again just in case. by the way, have you ever looked at my golf clubs lately? All my love, darling, Rol

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Dad says he’s in Bielefeld, Germany and has included this aerial view of where he’s stationed. I remembered that I may have posted this earlier – but this is the correct context for this photograph. He has an arrow drawn to his room! And then later in the letter he tells a funny story about a dance party his buddy’s planned and how it went awry.

7 June

Mary Darling, Your 27 May ltr arrived tonight. Poor little kid, with no packages. Reminds me of my Xmas. But glad that they arrived the next day. Glad that you like the perfume.You know more about what would be good perfume to send Mom than I do, but since I’ve mentioned to her that she has perfume on the way, I agree that it would be a good idea to send her a bottle now, and maybe another for her birthday. Yes, I’m still in Bielefeld, on the outskirts, as you will see from this very fine aerial view that one of our boys got while riding in a cub plane that he smooched a ride in.That is the back of the bldg, and you can see the tennis court (with the holes in the right end, where we play horseshoes) and my room under the arrow. Right under the plane when the pictures was taken would be a hill with woods, and to the right gets to be country right away (what a way I put that all into words! Do you get it?) The other pictures are of the Palace at Versailles, taken by Spalding on his trip to Paris. Remember my telling you about seeing it way back in (when?) September? Re the perfume box again; the dice perfume should be for a girl, I think. Maybe Patty? Yes, “Cagnes” is the Cannes, and the pictures are all made from actual scenes. By the way, have the other boxes arrived yet? I hope so, as I particularly like those wooden pictures. They hold a certain charm for me, and I bet that Karen will really like them when she gets a little older. As to your taking pictures, by all means go ahead and take them NOW. Heaven knows when I’ll be home, and when I do (as far as I know I may start home tomorrow, or next year) I won’t care about pictures — I’ll have you guys in the flesh (ohboyohboyohboy) so take ’em and get ’em to me as soon as you can, as I love to look at you – all. I’ll try to pick up some 620 for you, if I can.

General Ike declared yesterday a holiday, but he doesn’t pack much weight around here so I worked from 7:30 AM until five last night!!! My boys were busy making arrangements for our party last night! We discovered last week that a bunch of ATS (Allied Territorial Service, I think) (we call it the Allied Tail Society—ain’t we naughty?)—they are British, you know— had moved in a few miles from here. So Spalding and Trombly went on over and arranged for them to bring 40 girls over. Well, we worked like dogs yesterday fixing the place up (I handles the MC alone so that Sp and Stolz could crack ice and help on the dozens of odd jobs all day) and the boys really did a swell job, because it looked like a million bucks! Finally took the bus to go over to pick them up (were to be back here at 6:30 because they had to leave at 10:30) and about eight the bus came back and 18 females (I”m not too sure, as a couple of them had simply beautiful mustaches) clumped out and waddled up the front steps!! But dogs! The idea of the card (enclosed, Spalding and my idea ) was that each guy would rush up and hand the card to the girl of his dreams, thus sort of cinching things up for the evening. I’m very happy to send my card on to you, my pet. Spalding and Trombly didn’t do too badly (hell, they drove over and got first pick, didn’t they?) and I finally picked up a little bag and we had a lot of laughs anyway. We were dancing, and she said to me “Have you sentun?” After several “Repeat, please” etc, I got it. I had used my after shave lotion and she had asked if I had scent on? When they left, of course, they all said they’d had a “simply smashing” time! At least, we have had enough laughs today about the whole deal to warrant all of the work we went to. Hey, I’m at the end of the paper, but only beginning to tell you how much I love you—wonder how many reams of paper we have around here? Maybe I better wait until I get home. Would be more fun anyway. But I cer’ny do miss you, sweetheart—all my love—Rol

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